Miss V is fighting a nasty ear infection with a low-grade fever. Despite feeling less than my best, I drug my hindparts to the PSA 606 meeting. Chief Cathy Lanier and Commander Robert "I keep it cool" Contee were in attendance along with detectives from the stole auto and crime units. Of course our regular police, Lieutenant Hodge, Segarent Harvey, and Officer Persaud were there. Office LaFrance was MIA due to an injury breaking up a melee at Anacostia High School earlier in the week.
The room was jammed packed. The attendance was more than double the usual attendance. I guess that's what happens when Chief Lanier and Commander Contee attend. Their attendance even brought Councilmember Alexander out. Many faces I had never seen before at a PSA 606 or Hillcrest meeting. Hopefully, at least a percentage of the people will continue to attend in the future.
One thing that the crystal clear is the community is concerned about the spike in violent crime in PSA 606. The detectives from stolen auto unit said there is no pattern regarding the types of vehicles or victims they are targeting. The only thing in common about the victim is they are usually distracted such as talking on the telephone or getting packages out of the car.
Even with violent crime up, crime in all other categories has declined. Lt. Hodge mentioned the extra resources PSA 606 have been receiving over the last week. However, since the influx of resources is temporary, residents wanted to know what is the plan for sustainability. Cmdr Contee stated that community policing is important. Cmdr Contee and Lt. Hodge committed to getting the Officers out of their cars and have them get to know the community.
Other issues that were raised
Equity of resources: There was concern that 6th District does not receive the same police resources as other police districts. Cmdr Contee and Chief Lanier stated that in the last four years 6D has received over 100 new officers, which is double than an other police districts. PSA 606 currently has 23 officers and will be getting 4 more when they finish training in the next few weeks.
Truancy: A few people brought up the issue of truancy. There is concern that MPD is a taxi service for these troubled youth. When the kids are returned to school they typically go out the backdoor. To really address truancy there needs to be an assessment in each kid to understand why they are truant. One gentlemen stated that back in his day the truant officer would pick you up and then charge your parents $10 for giving you a ride to school.
Juvenile Crime: Chief Lanier stated that 6% of arrest for all crimes are juveniles, which has remained stagnant over time. However 40% of arrest for armed robberies and car jackings are juveniles. When the juveniles are apprehended they are only being charged by the courts with unauthorized use of a vehicle AKA a slap on the hand. Chief Lanier expressed her frustration that there are several juveniles they have arrested multiple times who are released by the legal system.
Cameras: The red light camera at the intersection of Branch and Alabama Ave isn't working. Cmdr Contee made a note of that. One resident requested additional cameras in the area to assist MPD will solving crimes. Cmdr Contee stated that crime cameras don't deter crime it just displaces it.
I'm sure I missed somethings from the meeting, but this was the information I retained.